Manga Review: Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One

Details: More information can be found at https://yenpress.com/9781975302849/goblin-slayer-side-story-year-one-vol-1-light-novel/

Score: 6.8/10

After the success of the Goblin Slayer anime, a slew of spin off manga were published. Almost all of them achieved little success with the exception being this book. Unlike those other books that focused on new characters, this story focuses on the same protagonist and is mostly the same type of story as the anime.

Year One again focuses on a young boy whose village is destroyed by goblins. Traumatized by the experience, he spends the rest of his life hunting goblins. Year takes place about five years before the events of the main series. This is an origin story and focuses on the early experience that shaped the protagonist into who he was in the main series.

With that said, it’s really not all that different from the main series. Our protagonist goes to the local adventurers guild hall, picks up a quest to hunt goblins, hunts goblins, and learn some lessons along the way. That was the basic structure of the main series and that’s the structure of this one.

The interesting bits of both series are the details in the story. The protagonist is simply a windows through which we can view the stories of the supporting characters as well as many guest characters. We also get to learn more about this fantasy world the story takes place in through the protagonist’s eyes. The world building in this story is pretty good in that it doesn’t just dump exposition onto readers. We learn a little bit more of the world with each story arc, not a whole bunch at once. It does a good job of keeping the world somewhat mysterious while revealing just enough to keep you interested.

Overall, this was about as good as the main Goblin Slayer series because it’s mostly the same. Both are enjoyable for exactly the same reasons, so if you enjoyed Goblin Slayer, you’ll enjoy Year One.

Manga Review: $1,000,000,000,000 Game

Details: Currently ongoing. I’ve read about four issues. Also known as Trillion Game and トリリオンゲーム.

Score: 7/10

I’ve only read about four issues, but I already know that this is going to be one of those stories that I will keep up with. This story is from Riichiro Inagaki, author of Eyeshield 21 and Dr. Stone of more recent fame. $1,000,000,000,000 Game is a story about two very different people and their quest to obtain one trillion dollars.

The protagonists are two young men who are very different. One is a person who lacks any interpersonal skills, but possesses impressive computer programming skills. The other only possesses interpersonal skills and can lie and speak his way through any situation. The two decide to combine their talents and we watch as they pursue their dream of being filthy rich.

What I like about this story is that it’s similar to what I enjoy in other heist movies or movies with schemes/scams, which is we get to watch our protagonists use clever, unorthodox means in order to achieve their objective. In the case of this story, we get to see the protagonists create a business and do their best to fund raise investment for it, even though they don’t really have a business plan or idea in the first place. This is a scheme that commonly takes place in real life, which lends some believability to the story. If you know anything about Silicon Valley and how many of the tech giants of today became so large, you’d know that it was from raising investment, not through providing goods or services. All this is to say is that the story is, so far, well thought out and well researched enough to keep me very interested.

The art is also very interesting. It’s an older style of art, but with the detail you’d expect of more modern works. The artist is actually well known and has worked on a number of well known manga in the past.

Overall, I’m interested. I want to see what tricks they employ and a truly clever, believable plot that leaves me in awe at how much research and planning the author did in order to produce such a story. It’s still very early, but I’m eager to see where this story goes.

Manga Review: Even If Your Mouth Is Torn

Details: Currently ongoing. I’ve read ten issues. Also known as Kuchi ga Saketemo Kimi Niwa and 口が裂けても君には.

Score: 7/10

Even If Your Mouth Is Torn is a romance and slice of life story about a spirit and a young man. It’s very cute.

Miroku is a spirit in the form of a human woman with her mouth slashed open. She goes around scaring people in hopes of spreading her legend. Kouichi is a young man who has fallen in love with Miroku. Together, they form a contract where if Miroku cannot successfully scare Kouichi within a year, she will marry him. Until then, the two live together.

This story was originally a one shot story. Then, three issues came out. Then, it apparently got picked up for a whole series. So I guess it’s achieved some success.

What was hard for me to get over at first was how nasty the spirit looked at first. Her mouth is gruesomely split open and it shows in many scenes. But after a while, you get used to it and appreciate the character underneath. The spirit is actually very cute and you get a lot of scenes like you’d expect to see in your standard romance manga.

The art is good and a fitting style for this often comedic, sweet story.

Overall, I enjoyed this twist on a romance story. Only a few issues have come out, but I’ve enjoyed watching these two characters be sweet to each other.

Manga Review: The Executed Sage Is Reincarnated as a Lich and Starts an All-Out War

Details: Currently ongoing. Also known as Shokei Sareta Kenja wa Lich ni Tensei Shite Shinryaku Sensou wo Hajimaru and 処刑された賢者はリッチに転生して侵略戦争を始める.

Score: 6.8/10

I’m enjoying this story so far, but it is very similar to the Overlord manga/anime.

The story is about a mage and a hero in a fantasy world. After defeating the demon lord, the two are executed on false charges. The mage is so distraught by what happens that he vows revenge and revives as a lich. Now this mage seeks revenge on the human world and world peace by being the greatest evil in the world and uniting humanity against himself.

Overlord was an isekai story where a protagonist was transported into the fantasy world of a video game he played. Once there, he became the big bad villain of that world and the story followed his villainy. This comic is not isekai as it starts and continues in a fantasy world with no connection to the real world. However, it does have a lot of the tropes of an isekai story as the protagonist is overpowered and defeats everyone.

Like Overlord, our protagonist is a villain and goes around doing evil stuff. He kills lots of people and takes over kingdoms and raises an evil monster army. Unlike Overlord, this is mostly a revenge story, at least as far as I’ve gotten into the plot. The protagonist wants revenge for the execution of the hero, his close friend and maybe romantic partner. So you get a combination of isekai tropes, anti-hero tropes, and revenge story tropes.

The art is fine.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable story that plays off multiple genres. Accordingly, it feels slightly new, but is mostly familiar narratively.

Manga Review: Gate – Where the JSDF Fought

The above trailer is for the anime. This review is for the manga.

Details: Currently ongoing. Also known as GATE – Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri and ゲート 自衛隊彼の地にて、斯く戦えり.

Score: 7/10

Gate – Where the JSDF Fought is interesting in that it combines the tropes of a fantasy isekai story with those of a military/gun fanatic story.

The story starts off in modern Japan. A magical gate has appeared in Shibuya and an army seemingly from a fantasy world shows up and starts killing people. The Japanese Defense force shows up and repels the invading army back into the gate. Fearing what else will come out of the gate, the Japanese Defense Force is ordered to enter the gate and deal with whatever threats they find inside the gate.

The first story arc is simply military supremacy. The enemy is medieval and the Japanese Defense Force has guns. It’s a one sided slaughter. The story gets more interesting as the plot tries to tell a sort of realistic story about how Japan would try to establish diplomatic relations with a medieval society in a fantasy world. There are tons of new threats for the Japanese government to deal with like new natural resources on the other side that need to be negotiated for, nations that could be easily destroyed but are negotiated with for the sake of peace, new natural disasters like the presence of dragons that can survive bombs and machine guns, and a whole bunch of fantasy world problems that will be dealt with modern diplomacy and weaponry.

The other main part of the story is a harem story. The main character is a Japanese special forces soldier who is also an otaku or nerd. He loves manga and anime and all the other stuff that comes with it. Over the course of the story, he meets all sorts of classic, fetishized female tropes that you normally see in anime and they become of the core group of characters. It’s very harem-esque. There is much fan service. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of glorifying the Japanese military while also showing off scantily clad, well endowed anime girls.

Personally, I found the otaku tropes generic and overdone, but I really enjoyed the military and political aspects of the story, even though they are a bit oversimplified and glorify Japanese integrity quite a bit. Some people might find the pro Japanese military stuff objectionable, but I didn’t mind it at all. Every country that produces entertainment also produces stuff that makes that country look good. I’ve read quite a bit of Korean Manhwa and they never hesitate to include some Japanese characters as the bad guys. American media often casts bad guys as Russians or Nazis. The Chinese government doesn’t even allow their entertainment industry to touch upon politics unless it is a blatant attempt to make China look good and foreigners bad. Every country does this sort of thing and I found the presence of this in this manga to be minor and not take away too much from my enjoyment of this story.

The art is fine.

Overall, I enjoyed this manga. It’s something unique in that I can’t recall seeing a story that combined classic anime tropes with military glorification. It’s definitely something new to me and new is often more than enough to keep me entertained.